April 2022: Happy Easter!
Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download our Easter 2022 letter.
Recently, students in a one-room school on the way to Quesimpuco, high in the Andes of Bolivia, listened intently as the teacher explained the lesson. The school is near a small river, so that they could have water. Their parents had made the mud bricks and built this school. Because they had a building, the government sent a teacher. What joy they had felt when the teacher walked into their village the first time to start classes! Many children in this isolated district lived too far away to walk to school, and this handful of 35 students felt blessed, indeed, to be able to have the opportunity to attend. The teacher and students were all proud of their school!
It is the rainy season in Bolivia, and flash floods are not uncommon. On this day, the students tell us that lightning struck the mountain peak nearby, and deep thunder followed. The light in the room darkened as dark clouds rolled in. The wind began to roar past. The teacher told the children, “A bad rainstorm is coming. You must go home quickly! The river could flood our school!” The children lost no time, as they ran home as fast as they could.
The teacher was quickly straightening the few books they had, preparing to leave. The flooded river burst over, and a wall of water hit the school building, totally demolishing it. The school with the teacher inside was swept down the steep cliffs of the Andes in the flood! The children all reached their homes, wet, but safe. The villagers, whose homes were on higher ground, watched in horror, unable to save their beloved teacher.
I think they must have felt like the disciples felt when Jesus was crucified. A dark night of hopelessness descended over them. Today, the people in this village are digging out of the debris left by the flood, determined to rebuild their school. And while they mourn the loss of their teacher, they are pulling the pieces together of what is left and starting again. These villagers are Resurrection People! They believe they can start again, and they love the verse, “Because He lives, you shall live also!” They are reclaiming their hope because of Christ!
When CENATEC/SIFAT Bolivia director Huber and CENATEC founder Benjo sent us news of what had happened in this village of Huiri Lanza, they told us that the villagers had sent a message asking for help with clean water, as the flood had contaminated their water supply. CENATEC was able to send 10 Sawyer water filters from SIFAT. This will purify up to 10 million gallons of water. Huber delivered these water filters to the government’s recovery team to take to Huiri Lanza. The determination of the villagers to rebuild their school and other devastated areas of their town is inspiring to see.
As we celebrate Easter, we join them in celebrating the resurrection of Christ. This means resurrection of HOPE, of LIFE, of putting our past behind us and taking the second chance God is offering us! Not only in rebuilding schools and villages, but in rebuilding our broken lives!
As you celebrate this Easter that offers us Life Eternal, Hope and a Second Chance, remember the village of Huiri Lanza in their suffering and thousands of other villages in hunger or living through war. Some of them do not know that Jesus died for them and that He rose again!
Will you join us in prayer for these people and many others that are hurting in our world? Will you give of your time and resources to enable SIFAT to reach more of the lost and suffering in our world?